Never has our university’s mission resonated so well with our campus community as with the slogan the university has emblazoned on banners, t-shirts and signs across campus, as well as in commercials and billboards around the state:
“Think. Do. Make a difference.”
These action words have created a buzz around campus that says “we get it.” The words have captured our commitment and our promise to educate students for a well-rounded life — “to prepare students for life, work and citizenship in the 21st century.” The words translate this mission statement into a call to action that each student can take on as a personal plan for achieving a rewarding life.
We have expressed in a variety of ways how to accomplish our mission. We reorganized our academic units and student life and development efforts to offer opportunities for students to practice and appreciate active and applied learning, community engagement, sustainability and global and cultural understanding.
To support these learning commitments, we embraced a new tagline: “Education for Life” — a succinct way of stating that St. Cloud State graduates will go out into their communities and their workplaces armed with the knowledge and experience to succeed in all aspects of living. It pledged that their education will be rigorous and relevant, offering a balance between classroom learning and real-world experience.
It was the rollout of the “Think. Do. Make a difference.” campaign, though, that seemed to capture the essence of what we want our education to offer and what we want our students to be. This is branding at its best — a set of words that declares in a highly relatable way who we are and what we are here to accomplish. Individuals in the campus community are applying the words
to themselves and their programs … even our buildings.
When we opened the Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility (ISELF), we declared that the innovative new facility, a centerpiece of applied learning, represents the “Do.” When students active in campus and community activities and volunteerism were offered t-shirts with three different sections of the slogans on their backs — “Think.” “Do.” or “Make a difference.” — each chose the message they wanted to wear. Interestingly, they were about evenly divided among believing themselves to be primarily a doer, a thinker or a difference maker.
On the pages of each issue of Outlook we feature alumni, faculty, staff and students who embody the “Think. Do. Make a difference.” message. The subjects of these stories exemplify the wide range of ways St. Cloud State folks are having an impact now and in the future.
– Earl H. Potter III